Dear readers: Who among you is willing to admit the amount of television you’re watching right now? The good news is that you don’t have to feel guilty about binge-watching Fresh off the Boat or rewatching every episode of Grey’s Anatomy. We’re all in this TV marathon together.
With so much available content on so many platforms, I only have one recommendation: watch what makes you happy. And if you’re four episodes into a 12-episode series and want to bail, that’s OK. I only made it through 2.5 episodes of Ozark and one episode of Hunters. So this column isn’t about what I suggest you watch, it’s about what Amanda is watching.
You’d think with all the cooking and eating I’ve been doing, I wouldn’t want to waste my precious 12-hour TV watching day, with a food show, but I love Top Chef which I’m watching in real-time on Bravo. This season is especially fun since the chefs are “all-stars” having appeared on previous seasons. Make sure you also watch Last Chance Kitchen, the 15-minute companion streaming show that pits the ousted chefs against each other.
I pretty much binged the six-episode 2020 reality series Cheer on Netflix. This surprisingly addictive show follows the championship co-ed cheerleading squad at Navarro Community College in Texas. What I love about Cheer is it focuses on athleticism and competition, not on which Ashley is dating which Noah. And Coach Monica is the absolute coolest person on TV.
If you want to laugh, and who doesn’t, you need to be watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine. This cop comedy debuted on FOX in 2013, was canceled by Fox in 2018, and picked up 32 hours later by NBC. The ensemble, led by Andy Samberg and Terry Crews, is basically flawless, and Andre Braugher as Captain Raymond Holt, is one of my favorite characters in the TV Universe. You can catch old episodes on Netflix and the current season on NBC and on demand.
What to watch when you want to laugh but don’t want to deal with little things like plot and story? Answer: the pop-culture game show, Billy on the Street (2011-17) on Netflix. Host/Comic Billy Eichner storms around the streets of New York City, demanding random, and not always willing, people answer ridiculous “trivia” questions for awesome prizes like $1, “Brokeback Mountain” potholders and marionettes of the cast of “Transparent.” It’s fast-paced, cheeky and fun and the celebrity cameos are priceless.
I had been anxiously waiting for the second season of In the Dark on the CW, a layered (code word for complicated) drama about Murphy Mason (OK, they lose points for the name), a blind and semi-bitter 20something with many complicated relationships. When Murphy’s young friend is murdered, she sets out to find the killer and since she’s blind and drinks a lot, things get really complicated. Throw in dirty cops, a drug dealer and well-intentioned, but flawed friends, they better offer a pretty decent recap of the first season, or I’m in trouble.
While I lasted longer than most of the country, I finally caved and watched Tiger King on Netflix. If you haven’t seen it yet, I’m guessing you don’t want to. This docuseries follows the eccentric (and that’s a nice way of putting it) characters involved in big cat breeding in Oklahoma and yes, Florida. It’s entertaining, yet repulsive, and totally nuts. It’s also oddly comforting that no matter how crazy your life gets, it will never be “Tiger King” crazy.
This is how I watch NBC’s The Voice - 1) Record 2) Fast forward through all the backstories about personal struggles, sacrificing parents, adorable siblings/children and relatives facing/recovering from life-threatening illnesses. 3) Watch contestants sing and judges react 4) Fast-forward if I don’t like the song 5) Fast-forward through extended judges banter 6) Watch decision. BOOM: two-hour show watched in 39 minutes.
Everyone needs a feel-good show right now, and I think I found mine. I’ve only seen one episode of Celebrity IOU on HGTV, and I’m hooked. The premise has handsome HGTV fixtures the Property Brothers (the one with the beard and the one without the beard), helping a celebrity give back to a loved one with a fabulous home project. And unlike Dancing with the Stars, these are actual celebrities, (sorry Hayes Grier, whoever you are). The first episode goes big with Brad Pitt, who is not only a superstar hottie, but also knows how to wield a sledgehammer. Crossing my fingers that George Clooney’s favorite cousin needs new garage shelving.